The Champions League is back as Atleti take on Chelsea in the last 16. The first leg is to be played on Tuesday at 9pm CET in Bucharest, since the English side aren’t able to travel to Madrid due to the restrictions on flights from the UK.
After over two months, the European competition returns with a banger at Bucharest’s Arena Națională – a stadium that was inaugurated in 2011 and brings back good memories. It was where we won the Europa League in 2021 as we beat Athletic Club 3-0.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are currently fifth in the Premier League and drew 1-1 against Southampton in their last match. As for their Champions League run, they finished top of their group ahead of Sevilla, Krasnodar and Stade Rennais. Moreover, they were one of three teams that won all three of their away games in the group stage, alongside Atalanta, Barcelona and Juventus. They also netted more away goals than any other side (10). However, their last away win in the Champions League last 16 came in March 2012, when they beat Benfica 1-0.
It’ll be the seventh time we face Chelsea in Europe. The first time we met was in the 2009/10 Champions League group stage. The next was in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco, in which we won 4-1. In the 2013/14 season, we met in the Champions League semifinals. After a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderón, our team won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to secure a spot in the final. We last met in the 2017/18 Champions League group stage – where we lost 2-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano and drew 1-1 in London.